THE future of a country must be determined by its people, says Prime Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama.
Speaking at the opening of the Pacific Regional Seminar on the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation at the Sofitel Resort on Denarau, he said the issue of colonialism had many different and unique relationships that needed to be sorted and solutions found that were both principled and pragmatic.
"In order to do that, I believe we must listen to the people," Rear Admiral (Ret) Bainimarama said.
"If they choose independence, we must respect and support their decision.
"If they choose some form of association, we must support their right to negotiate as equals — the relationship that best serves their interests.
"In Fiji, we are neutral about what each person decides but we are most adamant that the decision must be theirs."
The regional seminar provides an opportunity for delegates and members of the Special Committee to gain a deeper understanding of the issues that have been faced by the 17 territories listed on the UN List of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
The Special Committee will then convene in New York next month, where it will address progress in the efforts for self-determination — together with other developments — within these non self-governing territories.